World leaders are honoring veteran U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy who died at 77, after a long battle with a brain tumor.  The senator was the brother of former President John F. Kennedy.

On the world stage, Ted Kennedy had a lot of friends and his passing has generated a long list of warm, heartfelt condolences.

In nearly 50 years in the Senate, Kennedy, a liberal Democrat, served alongside 10 presidents, his brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy among them.  He was known for his legislative achievements on health care, civil rights, education, immigration and more.

From Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd summed up his sentiments.

"Ted Kennedy was a great American, a great Democrat, but also a great friend of Australia," said Kevin Rudd. "He has made an extraordinary contribution to American politics, an extraordinary contribution to America's role in the world."

In London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Senator Kennedy was admired around the world and he would be mourned on every continent.

Former British leader Tony Blair said Kennedy inspired devotion and respect everywhere.  Mr. Blair specifically noted his role in helping to navigate the negotiations that led to a lasting peace in Northern Ireland.

U.S. Ambassador to Britain Louis Susman called Kennedy a lion in the Senate.  A person, Susman added, who was beloved and trusted on both sides of the [political] aisle, and one who had a marvelous capacity to bring people together.

In Ramallah in the West Bank, former President Jimmy Carter spoke to the BBC about the man he knew for a long time.

"Well, like all Americans, and I think people around the world, we are distressed at the death of a great man," said Jimmy Carter. "I think that among all the members of our U.S. Senate and the Congress of the United States, he has been preeminent.  He has been staunch, and honest and open, and very able to express his views to the American people.  And my own hope is that his deep commitment to a comprehensive health plan in our country will be honored now by his contemporaries, by his peers, in the near future."

Mr. Carter said Kennedy was someone who worked tirelessly for the under privileged.

"I think Ted Kennedy, although he came from a very affluent family, a very prominent family, successful in politics, I think his first commitment was always to the people who were most in need," he said. "And he worked for those who were deprived in the American society and not only did he work for them, but he was very effective in his legislative work."

President Barack Obama, of whom he was an active supporter, said he was "heartbroken" to hear of his death.  "An important chapter in our history has come to an end," he said. "Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States senator of our time." 

American political icon Edward Kennedy dead at 77 of cancer, a man warmly remembered as a champion of social justice around the world.